An Indian rocket named Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on Wednesday morning lifted off successfully with the country’s earth observation satellite Cartosat, Google company Terra Bella’s SkySat Gen2-1 and 18 other satellites.
The PSLV rocket standing 44.4 metre tall and weighing 320 tonne, tore into the morning skies at 9.26 a.m. with a growl breaking free of the earth’s gravitational pull.
The 20 satellites weighed 1,288 kg.
The rocket’s main cargo is India’s 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation.
This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B.
The other 19 satellites weighing totally around 560 kg are from US, Canada, Germany and Indonesia as well as one satellite each from Chennai’s Sathyabama University and College of Engineering, Pune.
The whole launch mission will get over in around 26 minutes.
The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications.
According to ISRO, the 110 kg SkySat Gen2-1 belonging to Terra Bella, a Google company is a small earth imaging satellite capable of capturing sub-metre resolution imagery and high definition video.
The Planet Lab’s Dove Satellites are also earth imaging satellites. A total of 12 Dove satellites each weighing 4.7 kg are carried in this mission inside three QuadPack dispensers, ISRO said.
The PSLV rocket also carries 85 kg M3MSat from Canada. The technology demonstration mission is jointly funded and managed by Defence Research and Development Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.
The other foreign satellites on board are: 120 kg LAPSN-A3 of Indonesia, the 130 kg BIROS, from German Aerospace Centre, Germany and the 25.5 kg GHGSat-D, Canada.
On the other hand, the 1.5 kg Sathyabamasat from Sathyabama University will collect data on green house gases while the 1 kg Swayam satellite from College of Engineering, Pune will provide point-to-point messaging services to the HAM radio community.
Wednesday’s mission will be the first time the ISRO is launching more the 10 satellites with a single rocket.
In 2008, the ISRO had launched 10 satellites with the PSLV rocket.
Till date India has launched 57 foreign satellites successfully.